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News from 2023

On August 14th Anthony Annakin-Smith led a walk and talk on The Most Important Field in Neston. This replaced the talk planned for July 7th, and was postponed from July 14th because of bad weather. You can read about the field in our newsletter 103, p 5. A group of 20 people learned about ridge and furrow, enclosures, marl pits, lime kilns, hedgerows, the coming of the railway, and its replacement 50 years ago by the Wirral Way. Photo by Rob Ward:

In July Cheshire West and Chester installed the new seat in memory of Celia Garvey by the Conservation Green in Park Street, purchased with funds from the Ruby Holloway Bequest. It overlooks the flowerbed, planted by CWaC with the Fairtrade Logo. They have installed the plastic seat that was there in Hinderton Road, by Renaissance (former police station) in place of the dilapidated one. All this was done at no charge! Photo by David Griffiths shows the committee on Celia’s seat in August 2023 (Left to right, seated Secretary Lindsey Hinks, Chairman Brenda Marple, Treasurer Janet Griffiths; standing Rob Ward and Michelle Johnson).

Photo by Brenda Marple of the Fairtrade flowerbed.

The seat that the Society had installed in Parkgate Road, at the junction with Buggen Lane, was mysteriously destroyed in October 2022. It has at last been replaced. People walking between Neston and Parkgate appreciate being able to sit and rest. Photo, by Brenda Marple, shows the new seat.

Newsletter 105 took longer to print than we expected, but we’ve had good feedback. It included memories of Celia Garvey submitted by members who knew of her long contribution to the Society; notes on talks about The History of Mersey crossings (by Gavin Hunter), Beastly Merseyside (by Ken Pye) and The Vet School and Inside Leahurst (by Rob Smith); The Ruby Holloway Bequest; Out and About (Town, and Further Afield); Wirral Way 50th Anniversary; Neston Town Council; and Treasurer’s Report. We also distributed copies of the new Town Trail, and the new Tree Trail, which has also provoked good comments. Please look at our Town Trail and our Tree Trail: go to About Neston, and download as pdfs

On May 22nd, members of the committee went to Celia Garvey’s funeral. Despite the date not being announced (in accordance with Celia’s wishes) a lot of people came. Father Francis, from St Winefride’s, conducted a minimal service (following Celia’s instructions). Linda Ireland, a great help to Celia for many years, invited us to her house afterwards. It was good to talk to people who’d known Celia in different ways – restoring old houses, dealing in antique furniture, and appreciating fine art and food.

On May 18th David Hearn talked about Cheshire Strongholds defending Liverpool. This covered the period from about 1820 to the Second World War. Stronghold defences in Wirral included Fort Perch Rock, Liscard Battery, pill boxes, and anti-aircraft batteries. It was an informative and amusing presentation, with many examples of cutting-edge weaponry being deployed against non-existent threats.

Cheshire West & Chester Council (CWaC) have re-instated bollards on the Conservation Green, by the junction of Buggen Lane and Leighton Road. The part by Mill Street, however, still has no bollards, and vehicles regularly park on the grass.

CWaC have repaired the approaches to the Millennium Bridge, which carries the Wirral Way over Bridge Street, so that cyclists are no longer confronted by a two-inch step.

The temporary metal fencing on Liverpool Road has been replaced. The fence, between Buildwas Road and the car wash was an eyesore, but there is now less ugly permanent metal fencing.

On April 23rd, Neston Earth Group held the Neston Earth Festival, postponed because of the Queen’s death. We launched the printed version of the Neston Tree Trail, created jointly by Neston Civic Society and the Neston Earth Group, and funded from the Ruby Holloway bequest. The Tree Trail can be downloaded as a pdf on the About Neston page.

Sad News. Celia Garvey died on April 9th. We had a committee meeting at her home in Park Street on March 8th. She was not very well then, but it is still a shock to know that such a formidable lady is no longer with us.

Celia joined the committee in 1989. She took over as secretary from Susan Chambers in January 1992 until 2001. Celia then became social secretary, booking speakers for meetings. She resigned from that only in February 2023. She was also Chairman for several years, until 2011, and was a Neston Town Councillor from its inception. She hosted our committee meetings on many occasions, with generous supplies of cakes and biscuits. Memories from people who knew her are in the latest newsletter.

On April 2nd, the United Reformed Church community garden was opened by Revd Geoff Felton, Moderator of the Mersey Synod of URC. Janet Griffiths and Rob Ward attended the ceremony. The Society gave a donation towards the creation of the garden from the Ruby Holloway bequest. The URC are looking forward to it being used by all who would like to sit in its peace and surrounding beauty.

On March 16th, Professor Rob Smith talked about the History of Leahurst. This replaced the previously advertised film and talk about Lady Hamilton. Leahurst, on Chester High Road, is part of Liverpool University, where veterinary students are trained, animals are treated, and research is conducted. Photo by Rob Ward ( left to right Chairman Brenda Marple, Rob Smith, and Treasurer Janet Griffiths).

News from 2022.

On October 19th, the Society planted three trees at Neston High School, for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, for Reg Chrimes and for Norman Angel. Reg and Norman were long-standing members of the Society, and both dedicated their lives to the Neston community. They were instrumental in the establishment of secondary education in Neston.  

Penny Chrimes wrote ‘I just wanted to say a really heartfelt thank you for the tree planting ceremony yesterday. It was very moving and so appropriate to have a magnolia tree – which Dad loved – planted in a place that meant so, so much to him. And amongst people to whom Neston is so important.’ 

Mike Chrimes added ‘I would also like to add that looking at the photographs I took this morning, the overwhelming expression on people’s faces is one of joy. To be part of a joyous occasion will be an abiding memory for us all.’ 

Peter Angel said ‘I too would like to thank you all for making the tree planting ceremony on Wednesday so special: it was both a joyous and a moving occasion. Rachel, Daniel and I are very pleased and touched by the Neston Civic Society’s decision to honour my father and Reg in this way. My thanks to everyone associated with making the tree planting ceremony possible.’

Members of the families of Reg Chrimes and Norman Angel attended, alongside Head teacher Keith Simpson, Mayor Pat Kynaston, Neston Councillor Keith Millar and Little Neston Councillor Louise Gittins.

At the November AGM, Brenda Marple was elected as Chairman. She is a Town Councillor, lives in the centre of Neston, and is active in many local organisations. After the AGM, Gavin Hunter spoke about The History of Mersey Crossings.

© Neston Civic Society 2023